You’ve probably heard of The Plank and have done it or are currently doing it as part of your program. And that’s a good thing.
A stronger, more stable midsection can result in better overall posture. It can also contribute to stronger bike positioning and improved run mechanics. When your core is strong, you have a more solid platform for your legs to propel you forward, whether in cycling or running. Core strength also helps delay fatigue and allows for more efficient transfer of power from your upper body to your legs during movement both on and off the bike.
Targeted Muscles: Core, Arms and Shoulders
HOW TO DO A THE PLANK
1. Start in a ground position, facing down.
2. Make a concentrated effort to tighten up the muscles from your toes to your shoulders.
3. Raise your body up as one unit, so only your forearms and toes are in contact with the ground.
4. Your body should form a straight line from shoulders to ankles.
5. Engage your core by sucking your belly button into your spine.
6. Hold with good form until you get tired.
If you are new to strength training, or it has been while since you have done it, go ahead and start with
a modified version until your body develops the ability to hold the more advanced version.To do the modified version, simply hold the position from your knees instead of your toes, as shown below. When you can properly hold this position for a full minute, progress to the standard position. When you move up a progression, initially reduce the amount of time you attempt to hold the position, then
The Plank and TRX Suspension Training.
The Plank Position is the FOUNDATION of most movements on a suspension trainer. That’s because most movements require stabilizing the body as part of the exercise. So… every movement during the suspension workout is also strengthening your core.
That’s one reason why suspension training is so much more relevant to athletic movement than regular sit-ups and crunches. Developing the strength and stability required by the Plank Position is crucial to performing movements on a suspension trainer with good technique. Here are two examples of the Plank Position being used to support proper technique in other movements.
Compare the straight body position held in the two movements on the suspension trainer shown above, and the plank position at the top of the page.
Here are 3 variations (progressions) of the traditional Plank exercise that can be done on a suspension trainer.
Progress to the straps only after you feel you have mastered the traditional version of the Plank. Note: good form during suspension training movements is EXTREMELY important. Hips need to stay up, don’t let the lower back sag, and keep shoulders soft and back flat (no rounding of the back). It’s easy to start losing form with fatigue, so make this priority focus. Doing Plank variations in front of a mirror will allow you to self-monitor your form.
There is no need to hold the position for minutes at a time. Work up to sets of 45-60 seconds and then progress by adding additional sets or by doing a more advanced progression.
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